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Guadeloupe – Adventure in the French Caribbean: Part 1.

February 2, 2018
Country/Region:  Guadeloupe
Category:  Travel



Where is Guadeloupe?
Guadeloupe is an overseas territory of France and part of the Lesser Antilles in the Caribbean.

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Why Guadelupe?
Rade and I wanted to go someplace warm in January, but the reason we picked Guadeloupe is that it was recommended on our favorite Hungarian traveling site, the Utazómajom. Honestly, I have never heard of this place before. A great offer popped up on a random day in December, so after googling it quickly we immediately booked the flight in order to avoid the raising prices. We traveled with Air France through Paris. We had to change airports – from Charles de Gaulle to Orly and vice versa – but everything went smooth, the transfer took one hour with the Bus Direct and the price of the ticket was included in our airplane ticket. We stayed on the island for eight full days, on the ninth day until 4.pm. The good news for European travellers is that an ID is sufficient for EU citizens and the currency is euro.




Planning the trip:
I did not find a guidebook on Guadeloupe (in Hungary at least), so I just googled numerous pages and made our itinerary based on them. Most travel advice is in French, but it is possible to find enough information in English as well. I just made a 4-5 page list of the most popular sights, the best-rated beaches, foods to try, etc. I will share the details in my upcoming posts. We picked an apartment (Maison des Alizes) on booking.com which seemed good based price and value ratings. There wasn’t an extensive choice really, 70% of the apartments were already booked out by the time we started looking. January is definitely a hot season in Guadeloupe, with lots of tourists running away from winter. Booking a car was not too pleasant, considering the prices were crazy high – renting a car cost almost as much as renting an apartment for the same amount of time! But we had no choice, - and as a later realized – it is crucial to have a car, bus transport is almost non-existent outside of some bigger towns.




First impression:
Our first impression on arrival was quite deep, especially considering that our trip has begun with a huge snowstorm in the morning in Budapest. Our flight has been delayed for approximately one and a half hours, since the aircraft needed to be de-iced twice. After almost 19 hours of traveling (30 minutes to the BUD airport, 2 hrs 30 mins flight to Paris, changing airports in Paris 6 hrs layover, and finally the flight to the capital city Point-a-Pitre has lasted 8hrs 30 mins) it felt amazing to arrive. Carrying our winter jackets in our hands felt strange and unnatural, considering it was 25 degrees Celsius at 7 p.m. Honestly, we needed a few minutes to get used to the warm air. We picked up our rental car and after a half-an-hour drive arrived at our apartment. Our hosts, a couple in their 60s, 70s were quite surprised to see us (as we later found out it is their daughter who manages the booking reservations and she was stuck in Paris due to some delayed flight), but they quickly prepared our room and the lady even prepared us a little welcome-snack, accras and an AMAZING passion-fruit smoothie.


Weather:
During our stay it was 26-28 degrees celsius during the day and 22-23 during the night. So basically you will never need a sweater. The sun rises around 6:30 a.m and sets at approximately 6 p.m. (Speaking of the period between the 21st and 31st of January). I just checked and interestingly, these times only change slightly throughout the year. In June, for example, the sunrise is around 05.30 while the sunset around 18:35-18:42.



Tourists:
I have read beforehand that 90% of the tourists will be French, but based on my experience I would say that this number (at least in January) is even higher: in the scope of nine days we have seen one German and two Polish families, and about a dozen of Americans.


To be continued...



About the Author

Marta Ritecz-Sekulic

Marta Ritecz-Sekulic

Marta has obtained her Master’s degree in European Studies in Cracow, Poland. She adores writing and sharing her thoughts in general, as well as learning new languages and getting to know other cultures. She is mostly acquainted with Polish, Croatian, Hungarian and Serbian culture as she has lived in those countries. Marta currently works at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Hungary as a Desk Officer for Poland. She is the founder of The Cultural Spotter.